SEOUL – A South Korean man hurled human feces into the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Friday to protest Tokyo’s sovereignty claim to a pair of islets controlled by South Korea, but he was freed by police despite carrying out an identical attack last August, Yonhap news agency reported.
The 49-year-old dayworker, identified only by his surname Choi, threw a plastic bottle containing his own excrement over the embassy’s wall around 8:50 p.m. Friday, the same day Shimane Prefecture held an annual event to assert Japan’s long-standing claim to the Takeshima Islands, Yonhap said Saturday.
The agency said police booked Choi and are investigating the incident, but that they chose not to detain him.
Last August, Choi threw two bottles of human feces at the Japanese Embassy but was let off with only a fine. In another incident in 2010, he cut off part of his pinkie and mailed it to the embassy after Tokyo approved a set of new junior high school textbooks describing the rocky outcroppings in the Sea of Japan, which are known to South Koreans as Dokdo, as Japanese territory.
On the day Choi launched his latest attack against the embassy, Shimane Prefecture, which Japan argues has jurisdiction over the disputed islets, held its annual Takeshima Day. This year’s event was larger in scale, with a senior official from the central government in attendance, along with around 20 Diet lawmakers.
Seoul responded by filing a vehement protest, calling Tokyo’s territorial claim to the islets “unjustifiable.” The decades-old dispute flared up again after outgoing South Korean President Lee Myung Bak made an unprecedented visit to the islets last August, sending bilateral ties into a tailspin.
The South Korean coast guard has stationed personnel on the Takeshima Islands since 1954, while Seoul has also constructed a lighthouse and heliport to cement its administration of the islets.